Homeless Camps ‘A Serious Issue’

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By Eric Bailey

A time where living along a freeway bolstered noise and pollution as the biggest concerns for residents is a remnant of the past say some residents in Long Beach. Encampments built by the city’s unhoused population are causing more than just neighborly quarrels, but what some residents feel is a serious issue.

Tim Trezise, the owner of Syndicate Barbershop on Broadway and who lives near the 405 freeway at Woodruff spoke at length to the Beachcomber regarding he and a few residents taking matters into their own hands after what they feel were cries to the city falling on deaf ears.

“Homeless have set up shop because there’s so many trees and bushes that have been neglected for so long,” Trezise said. “They just hide in there and do their thing.”

Trezise claims that the encampments are a beacon for crime and drug use, as he and fellow neighbors report that home break-ins, car vandalization, and trespassing is skyrocketing.

“It pissed me off so bad last year I just started chain sawing trees down on their little forts to run them out,” Trezise said.

California Highway Patrol was contacted of his actions and asked him to stop, which he did. The tipping point for Trezise to reengage his efforts however was when a neighbor informed him of a peeping Tom spying on his daughter.

“One of these dudes was on a flipped over bucket caught on a Ring camera looking into the daughter’s room,” Trezise said. “That was kinda the final straw for me.”

Trezise went back to cleaning the area himself.

“Once this bucket thing happened, I said [expletive] this.”

Taking to social media, Trezise was able to rally local volunteers at an organized cleanup June 27 after his Instagram story garnered the attention of Street People of Los Angeles, an Instagram account that has over 140,000 followers, showcasing a first-hand perspective of the homelessness crisis in the LA area.

After the organized cleanup effort, Trezise said he was contacted by a sergeant of the Long Beach Police Department.

“He was pretty much trying to talk me out of it, but I already knew it was out of their jurisdiction.”

As the father of an 8-year-old daughter he walks to school, Trezise felt no other option was available to him or other members of the community.

“I have no choice anymore. No one’s backing us up.”

Help did however come from an unlikely source.

Officer Chad Robbins with the Long Beach State’s University Police Department, who has a reputation for his work assisting the unhoused came and spoke with Trezise and offered whatever assistance he could to both aid in the assistance of the unhoused who wanted it as well as the residents in the area.

The homelessness crisis is one that has everyone doing what they can to help.

The city created a response team within the Long Beach Fire Department back in 2017 to deal specifically with the unhoused, and the City Council officially entered an agreement with Caltrans June 15 to conduct encampment cleanups along Long Beach freeways.

Care Closet LBC, a nonprofit which conducts cleanups in Long Beach, organizes donations and even compensates unhoused people for their work, sees itself as a complimentary piece in the city’s effort to combat the homelessness crisis.

 “I’ve been using every cent I get and give it to them as an hourly wage,” said Duke Givens, the founder of Care Closet LBC.

While resources are available and individuals are committed to assisting the unhoused, Trezise wants to make it clear that his concerns are rooted purely in the illegal activities that some encampments can attract.

“I just want other neighborhoods to do this,” said Trezise. “People need to start making some noise.”

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